Cobblers boss Keith Curle has branded Sky Bet League Two as ‘very competitive’ ahead of the 2019/20 season - and he is expecting clubs with ‘spending power’ to flex their financial muscle in a bid to win promotion.
League two has lost Lincoln City, Bury, Milton Keynes Dons and Tranmere Rovers to promotion, while Notts County and Yeovil Town were both relegated.
Replacing them are the four clubs to come down from league one in Bradford City, Plymouth Argyle, Walsall and Scunthorpe United, with Leyton Orient and Salford City getting promoted from the National League.
There are a few big-hitters in league two terms among that list, and Curle knows it is going to be a real battle to achive his ambition of winning a first promotion as a manager.
“It will be a very competitive league,” said Curle, aftere the line-up was confirmed following Newport County’s defeat in the play-off final last weekend.
“You only have to look at it and see how many teams in the division now, have recently played in league one.
“There are a lot of teams that are now in league two that have league one experience, and have had success in the past of getting out of league two.”
There are also going to be clubs with more than healthy budgets.
The likes of Bradford and Plymouth are certainly big fish at league two level, Leyton Orient will want to kick on under Justin Edinburgh after their promotion.
Then there is cash-rich Salford City, backed by Manchester United legends Gary Neville, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Co, who aren’t going to be shy with the cheque book as they prepare for their first season in the Football League.
Curle has stated on numerous occasions that he is happy with the budget he has been given to work with by chairman Kelvin Thomas and the Cobblers board, and he believes good investment is going to be a key factor.
“It’s not going to be an easy division to get out of, and I think there are going to be clubs in there that will have the spending power,” said the Cobblers boss
“Clubs that have that spending power, and are in a transitional period.
“You look at Salford, they have invested heavily to get promotions every year and I don’t see that changing now.
“It’s not going to be all about wage bills and budgets, but if you have a look at the teams that went up last season, they all had healthy investment behind them.”
League two clubs for 2019/20 season: Bradford City; Cambridge United; Carlisle United; Cheltenham Town; Colchester United; Crawley Town; Crewe Alexandra; Exeter City; Forest Green Rovers; Grimsby Town; Leyton Orient; Macclesfield Town; Mansfield Town; Morecambe; Newport County; Northampton Town; Oldham Athletic; Plymouth Argyle; Port Vale; Salford City; Scunthorpe United; Stevenage; Swindon Town; Walsall